Category Archives: Travel

Lee’s birthday weekend!

Wednesday was my my dad’s birthday! Happy Birthday, Dad! Feeling very grateful for the weekend we spent together celebrating.  Knowing this was a special birthday and we would all want to be together, my mom generously invited us to an awesome weekend in San Francisco.  We spent two nights in the city, enjoying good restaurants, celebrating Dad and seeing friends.  Some photos from the trip:
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It only took two false starts and one-almost-forgotten piece of luggage to get the three of us and allllllll the baby stuff in the car and on the road.  We met up with my parents at the hotel and headed straight to lunch at Wayfare Tavern. It was around the corner from our hotel and I’ve always wanted to try the fried chicken (so good!).

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Ha! We look like two kids whose parents let them try a sip of beer at Thanksgiving. My mule was refreshing, but David’s Tavern Sour was incredible.

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A special moment: David showing Diego the Transamerica Pyramid.  He fell in love with the building as a kid, and credits it for sparking his interest in cities.

Although we were celebrating my dad, my parents kindly offered to watch Diego Saturday night so we could go out (hooray for grandparents!!).  On the way to dinner, David and I realized that while we had been out a few times without Diego, this would be our first dinner out together.  We made a reservation for Le Colonial and got a table on the pretty patio. I LOVE the tile floor.

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After watching the SF episode of The Layover, I’ve been SO curious to check out the Tonga Room.  We never made it when we lived in Oakland and I was eager to check it out.

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What a TRIP.  The hourly rain, the band in the pool, and the over-the-top kitschy absurdity of it all was totally charming.  AND we got to hang out with Mr. Bress and Orit!

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AND, it being Memorial Day Weekend, it was only fitting to run into a bunch of (much, much, younger) former tour guides while dancing to Sweet Caroline.


After the late (for us) night, we were all up bright and early the next morning for a walk through Muir Woods. Diego’s first national park!

In my growing collection of “David walking with stroller” photos, the backdrop of this one is my favorite. 

After the good walk, my dad recommended Mill Valley for lunch. It was a delightfully, charming surprise! And lunch at Kitchen Sunnyside was just right.


That evening, we all got dressed up for the main event: Dad’s birthday dinner! COULD NOT HANDLE this outfit. Such a dapper little Diego!


I think Thanksgiving was the last time we were all together for dinner. My heart felt so grateful and happy to be gathered at a table with my favorite people, toasting to my dad. He deserves to be celebrated every weekend. Very, very thankful we got to thank him together on this special weekend.


And dinner at Chaya was exceptional. Such a treat!

In a fortuitous twist of events, Taryn and Jenna happened to be in the Bay Area for the weekend.  We originally planned on picnicking at Dolores on Monday morning, but facing a chilly morning, we opted for the Ferry Building instead. Can’t describe how special it was to meet my best friend’s amazing wife AND introduce them to Diego!

14 years of friendship!!


Kicking off a week of Diego and baby meetings, we all got to meet sweet baby William! Molly, John and sweet Sutter joined us and we got to admire their charming baby boy. Baby Bruins!!


After Gotts for burgers and milkshakes, it was time to head back home. So thankful for the weekend of food, friends, the city, and most of all, celebrating Lee!!!

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Filed under Family, Travel

Dillon Beach

During our first summer back in CA, Shaiya organized an amazing surprise 30th birthday weekend for Sachin in Yosemite-and a whole group of us tagged along :) That weekend sparked a happy tradition of a winter/summer weekend trips-in Tahoe, Santa Cruz, Tahoe again, and Point Reyes.

This year, we decided on Dillon Beach for a winter weekend. It was unbelievably gorgeous.


All of these photos are from the deck of the house-the view was unreal!

We all decided take a vacation day on Monday and do a Saturday – Monday weekend. This worked out REALLY well as everyone was able to avoid traffic and start the trip early and relaxed.

We had to be out of our house that whole week (grrrrrrrrr tenting and fumigation for wood beetles-so so so frustrating) so David and I extended the weekend. After work on Friday, we stayed at the Doubltree in Berkeley.


I picked it for the great rate (and the chocolate cookies) but it ended up being a really nice hotel! It rained the whole time, but I imagine the view of the Berkeley Marina is gorgeous when it’s sunny.

The next day, after picking up my favorite kale Caesar salad from our beloved and very missed Market Hall, we drove to my office holiday party.  I love that we do our holiday party after the stress and busyness of the holiday season-everyone is relaxed and it’s something to look forward to in the winter. It was so nice to spend the afternoon together-and the surprise baby celebration was extra special :)

It was a relatively short drive from Oakland to Dillon Beach-much easier than going to Point Reyes-and after winding through some gorgeous pastures and farmland, we pulled up to the house….

 

…and hunkered down right here for the next 48 hours.

With this view, there really wasn’t any need to leave.

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We’re now a pretty large group, but the house had space for everyone.  And, most importantly, a massive kitchen.

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Saturday night, Jon made bo ssam and Zac made kimchi and ginger scallion sauce and it was all amazing.

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Sunday was rainy, and I was feeling pregnant and tired. I never made it to the actual Dillon Beach-opted for a game of Scrabble with David and a nap–but I hope to go someday! Later that evening, Super Bowl prep began.  Everyone brought or made their favorite junk food (my favorites: Brian’s Buffalo Chicken Dip, Molly’s Endive Goat Cheese boats, and Yasser’s Jalepeno Dip) and we half-watched the game (or maybe, I just half-watched the game?).  It was so much more fun hanging out with the babies!

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loved waking up to this scene on Monday.  Breakfast with some of the best people–and again, that view.  Could not get over it.  I hope we continue doing these trips as I always leave so grateful for our supportive friends and the comfort 0f all being together.

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Thank you, Dillon Beach :)

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Filed under Reunions, Travel

Central Coast mini-vacation

Last month, just before Thanksgiving, David and I spent a few days on the Central Coast.  I love Thanksgiving vacations because work is generally quieter that week, making it much easier to quickly relax and enjoy. And it was very relaxing and beautiful.

I worked from home on Monday, and after work, we hit the 5, bound for Cambria. Usually we stop at In-N-Out, but the hotel night came with dinner, so we pushed on to make a later reservation.

When I found out I was pregnant, I’m embarrassed to say my first instinct wasn’t to research baby books, but it was to research and plan a mini-vacation (a babymoon, I guess).  When you’re trying to get pregnant, it’s hard to make travel plans because you have no idea if/when you’ll be mobile. So, it was nice to have some idea of the timeline and begin planning some fun trips. I immediately ruled out anything international, primarily for cost, and I was so exhausted (first trimester) that the thought of a long flight lacked any appeal. All I wanted to do was 1) be near an ocean or pool, 2) not feel pressured to sight see, and 3) sleep, sleep, sleep in a nice hotel. (Again, first trimester). I booked and cancelled hotels in Sedona and San Diego before realizing-hello! Santa Barbara! We loved our honeymoon, we could combine it with our travel to Irvine for Thanksgiving, and it offered everything I wanted.

SB felt a bit far for a post-work drive and I found a great deal for a hotel in Cambria, so we settled on that for the first night.


We stayed at the Cambria Pines Lodge and it was…interesting. The price was right, the grounds were gorgeous, and it included a surprisingly delicious dinner at the restaurant. So no real complaints, but it just wasn’t somewhere I would recommend as a destination-though great for a night while traveling through the coast.

After breakfast, we drove to Cayucos and picked up some super sweet Brown Butter Cookies before driving down to Santa Barbara.


We stopped at The Nook for lunch and I immediately felt that sense of-ahhh, yes, we’re in Southern California. Slightly warmer weather, and just a hint of an ocean breeze. The bar had an incredible selection of beer on tap and a huge fridge with imported bottles.  

With such happy memories of the Fess Parker Santa Barbara, we decided to stay there the next two nights.


Our room faced the ocean (hooray!!) and I camped out on the balcony for much of the next two days, reading Commonwealth.

Later that night, we walked to The Lark for dinner. By far, my favorite meal of the trip. Wish I had the skills and discretion to effectively take a photo of the restaurant, but I don’t, so I’ll just have to remember it. It’s a beautiful wood beamed, brick walled, room and the food matches the stunning decor. A very nice, leaisurly, smallish plates dinner.


The next day, we walked around State Street for a bit and checked out Jeannine’s for brunch. I wondered if it served as the inspiration for Meryl Streep’s bakery in It’s Complicated. It’s thoughtfully decorated, bursting with buttery croissants and pastries, and clearly has a cult following. I would go back, but not order as much. David and I can certainly eat but the portions were large even for us (which is saying a lot).


Later that afternoon, I splurged on a prenatal massage at the hotel. It was really nice. The massage therapist was also a doula, and she placed my hand on my belly at the end of the massage, to rest with the baby. I don’t know why, but I just thought it was so sweet!


It was a bit too cold to fully swim, but I dropped my toes in the water to relax. The rest of the trip was nice and quiet: naps and reading.

Craving cheesy pasta, we decided on Trattoria Vitoria for dinner. Being the night before Thanksgiving, it was packed with families and had a cozy, classic Italian atmosphere. 

The next morning, we watched the Macy’s parade over room service breakfast (vacation is the best). It was nice to be in the US for Thanksgiving! The dance performances in the parade were amazing. Later, I took a long walk along the beach, and it was wonderful seeing all the families out, biking and walking along the water before their Thanksgiving dinners. Once again, I felt very grateful for the jaw dropping natural beauty of the California coast.


The best part was saying goodbye to vacation only to turnaround and head to Irvine for Thanskgiving dinner. This is this last big getaway David and I will take, just the two of us, for a while, and I’m so thankful we got to spend some time soaking up some sun and quiet time such a pretty place.

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Filed under Marriage, Travel

36 hours in Baltimore 

Friday morning, as an icebreaker to a work meeting, we shared one favorite vacation.  “A real vacation is traveling with just my wife,” one person said.  “When our kids join us, then it’s a trip.”

Looking forward to whatever travel, trips and vacations David and I have in the future.  For now, we’re enjoying a few weekends here and there before March.  A few weeks ago, we spent the weekend in Baltimore-one of my favorite cities.  A few memories from that happy vacation.

After working for the week in DC, I stayed with Janou Friday night. It was an exhausting week, so we just ordered Thai, watched the Cubs game and went to be early.  Saturday morning, I met Catherine for brunch at Lupo Verde.
With huge windows overlooking 14th street, the sun drenched the brick filled room. We started with a gorgeous fruit and Nutella sampler and I just couldn’t resist the urge to take photos.

 

Sensing we were celebrating something (I told Catherine the baby news and she was so sweet and excited) the restaurant surprised us with dessert! The frozen bowl was layered with more Nutella (why not?), hazelnut ice cream, and crunchy toasted walnuts. A beautiful DC fall morning.

I eventually made my way to the train, and on to Baltimore. This was my first trip back to the city since my bachelorette 2.5 years ago. And it’s been almost three years since David and I visited Baltimore together.  Jumping in the cab from the train station, I was surprised by the wave of nostalgia that washed over me.  I knew it would be great to be back, but underestimated how thrilling it would be.


After checking in to the hotel and admiring the amazing view!!) I took a long evening walk around the Harbor.


I remember doing that same loop during the fall, when I first moved to Baltimore nine years ago. During that lonely time, walking and looking at the water would often be the highlight of my day, if not my week.  Very thankful that chapter is over, but also grateful for the solace that beautiful Harbor provided at the time.

Walking back, I picked up at copy of the The Hopefuls at B&N (it was ok…entertaining, but like Girls in White Dresses, the characters were awfully whiny about not-real-problems).

David’s flight arrived that evening and we immediately made our way to my favorite Bmore restaurant: Pub Dog.  With a Mr. Green Jeans Pizza and Big Dog Salad, I was a very happy camper.

After a sentimental walk to Fed Hill park, we capped off the night with a delicious Shake Shack milkshake :)

The next morning, we made our way slightly outside the city to Woodberry Kitchen.  We first discovered Woodberry during one of my mom’s visits years ago and it became the perfect special occasion restaurant.  We celebrated my graduation and David’s there-where I tried a Moscow Mule for the first time! A year’s long love affair with WK and Mules ensued :)  The restaurant is just jaw droppingly gorgeous and brunch was superb.

We light-railed back from the restaurant, stopping in Mount Vernon to admire the pretty park near the original Washington Monument.

Later that afternoon, we took a water taxi to Fell’s Point for some Pitango gelato.


There used to be a Pitango near our DC apartment.  The night we got engaged, after walking through DC, buzzing with excitement, we ducked into Pitango for celebratory gelato. The creamy cardamom-hazelnut combo brought back happy memories.

We walked back to Fed Hill for dinner Sunday night.  David loves The Abbey burgers and I was craving a crab cake. Monday morning, we woke up before the sun, admired the view one last time, before heading back to DC.  Grateful for a quick, super nostalgic trip back to Charm City!

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Filed under Baltimore, Travel

Happy Halloween!

Happy Monday, Happy Halloween, Happy Cubs Win, Happy only-eight-more-days-of-this-awful-election! Thank goodness. We had a really nice weekend relaxing in Baltimore. Hope to write more about it soon. Good grief, I love this beautiful city!

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Filed under Baltimore, Travel